Our day started with a drive to the Cincinnati Museum Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Museum Center, which is currently undergoing extensive remodeling, was swarming with people. Our purpose for visiting was to view the Vikings Beyond the Legend traveling exhibit from the Swedish History Museum. Ticket prices were $19.50 for adults with an additional $5 for an audio companion guide (which we opted not to purchase).
After a brief video at the start of the exhibit, we were greeted by a Pictish Symbol Stone representative of Norse Valhalla Mythology. Next we wondered about display cases showcasing Jewelry, Tools and Handicraft/Clothing items. In subsequent rooms there was an extensive collection of innate handicrafts and a visual representation of a Viking vessel using rivets that would have held the bow of a ship thus creating a Ghost Ship illusion.
The exhibit also included a recipe for making your own Viking bread:
The recipe is based on an analysis of Viking Age Bread, found in Birka, Sweden.
About 150 g / ¾ cup barley flour
About 50 g / 3 tablespoons wholemeal flour
2 teaspoons crushed flax seeds
About 100 ml / ½ cup water
2 teaspoons lard or butter
A pinch of salt
Work all the ingredients together into a dough and knead. If the dough is too wet or hard, add flour or water. Let the dough rest cold for at least one hour or longer. Shape the dough into flat cakes (about ½-cm / ¼-inch thick). Bake cakes in a dry cast iron pan on the stove over medium heat, a few minutes on each side, or in the oven at 150 C or 325 F for 10-13 minutes.
A few exhibits allowed interaction. There was an astrology display, an opportunity to spell your name using the Runes alphabet, and a touchscreen archaeological dig.
A fair number of the articles in the exhibit were the actual excavated items, but there were replicas of items that were currently in other museums or private collections around the globe.
The final room of the exhibit housed the Krampmacken, a reconstruction of a Viking sailing ship that was among the archaeological finds at the Bulverket in Gotland, Sweden (I plan on visiting this Swedish island aboard a Cunard cruise in 2018). The most impressive artifact at the end of the exhibit is the remains of the Roskilde 6, the world’s longest Viking Ship excavated in 1996-97. Twenty-five percent of the ship was preserved, including parts of the long keel (almost 105 feet), the hull, and the inner timber. Its estimated construction date is about 1025. The Roskilde 6 display is a steel skeleton hull containing fragments of the excavated wood that gives you an idea of the enormous size/power of this vessel during the time period. The vessel was capable of carrying roughly 100 men and enough supplies to cross the ocean to other lands.
Walking at a casual pace, my visit lasted about an hour and 15 minutes. The audio guide would have provided more facts/history but I left feeling a good sense of understanding about the Viking people. I did learn a couple of interesting facts about the Vikings from the exhibit. Fact one is that Viking helmets did not have horns. Fact two was that the Vikings were the cause of the deforestation of Iceland in a record time of 50 years.
Exiting the Cincinnati Museum Center there was an excellent view of downtown Cincinnati from the parking lot. We took a little detour via the Fairview Park scenic overlook that was only a couple of miles away. This gave us a higher up view of the Museum Center and a grand view of the Queensgate Railroad Yard. After snapping a few photo’s we headed to the China Foods restaurant on West McMillan for a late lunch.
Cruise Port: Cincinnati, Ohio – serviced by American Riverboat Cruise Lines
Steps logged: 3,370